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January 1987


Editorial Comment

As I See It - Looking at '87 and to the Year 2000

The Adopt-A-People Concept - "A Church For Every People By the Year 2000"

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"A Church For Every People By the Year 2000"

God's vision, the end to which all of His dealings with mankind are heading, is painted quite clearly in Revelation 7:9÷

"a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb."

A glorious vision of triumph. And it is through us, the Church, that the task will be completed.

Did you know?

÷The Church in China has grown from one million in 1949 to perhaps as high as 80 million today. . .

÷More Muslims have become Christians in the past 25 years than in all previous years combined . ..

÷Across Africa and Asia over 1000 new churches spring up weekly . .

Never before in history have the peoples of the world been so responsive. We are living on the threshold of the greatest harvest of souls that man has ever seen. We are in the final countdown of history where Matt. 24:14 may become a present reality.

The Adopt-A-People Prayer program has been created to serve God's purpose and vision. The program is quite simple. It involves the same elements as any good plan . . .

The Task Can Be Completed!

1. Identify the goal.
Mission agencies are attempting now to identify every last tribe, tongue, people and nation on earth where a vital church still must be planted. Computerized maps produced by the new Global Mapping Project will soon help us scan the globe to see the remaining task: an estimated 17,000 groups who remain unreached with no vital church.

2.Mobilize the manpower.
There are over 2.5 million congregations of vital believers worldwide. If indeed there are 17,000 unreached people groups, then the ratio of congregations to people groups is 147 to one. With 147 congregations per unreached people group, the task of identifying, adopting and reaching these groups is certainly attainable in this generation. May God give us His wisdom and love to mobilize His Church to link with mission agencies for this all important task!

3. Implement the task in
The world is too big for any one church to tackle, and many pastors despair from the constant barrage of requests for funds and prayers. But in this final challenge to complete the missionary task, each church would prayerfully "adopt" just one of the 17,000 unreached people groups and its mission team.

1. Identify the Goal
Imagine a ceramic map of India hanging on the wall. Suddenly it falls and shatters. Which gives a truer picture÷ the whole map divided neatly into states, or the shattered map scattered across the floor?

In the biblical sense, the shattered map is more accurate: the country of India has some 3,000 tribes, castes and dialects (as estimated by the Institute of Hindu Studies)÷all quite separated from each other like pieces of a shattered map. 

(That is difficult for an American to imagine. Try to imagine living surrounded by Souix and Navaho nations, each speaking only their own language. Now imagine planting the church in each: to plant a church effectively you must "become" a native, which can take 10 years per group. \ In India, traveling 100 miles brings you to a new language group! There are similar problems all over the world.)

Is the church planted in India? The question must be asked: which India? There are some 3000 tribes and peoples in India, as separate as the pieces of a shattered map. Some pieces of the map may be marked with a cross: about 26 distinct groups have a viable church among them. Some tribes are 97% Christian! But these tribes can't easily reach the other 2974 language groups walled off by barriers of language and customs. It would take a special, long-term mission effort to learn their language÷with as much difficulty (or more) as any foreign mission team.

When Jesus said, "Make disciples of all nations" (Matt. 28:19), he chose the Greek word ethne, meaning "peoples" or "ethnic groups". He wants the church planted among all tribes, tongues, and peoples÷not just in every country. The question then arises...

How are we doing?
The explosive power of the gospel has erupted in nearly 7000 people groups with phenomenal results. But to finish the job disciples from all peoples must be made. It is estimated that some 17,000 tribes, nations, peoples and tongues remain to be reached-needing a church-planting team to live among them, learn their language and share heart-to-heart. Mission experts are now tracking down every unreached tribe, tongue, people, and nation on earth, and developing plans to reach them. The church is ideally positioned in strength all around the world; many agencies believe the missionary task could be finished by the year 2000.

2. Mobilize the Manpower
The momentum may be unstoppable. Just as the step of Identifying the goal is on its way to being solved through cooperative research by many mission agencies, so too the step of Mobilizing the manpower is showing great promise.

Mission agencies are registering increased serious interest by new recruits in finishing the missionary task: going where no missionaries have ever gone, planting the church where there currently is no church. Since 1960, the number of full-time missionaries from North America has doubled and "mission" churches around the world are now sending their own missionaries.

"We're beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel," notes Bemie May of Wycliffe Bible Translators. "The Holy Spirit is beginning to send workers for the final harvest." John Kyle, director of Inter-Varsity missions, agrees: "I feel we are truly gearing up for one last thrust at the task of world missions!"

With the last remaining unreached people groups being identified, and the number of new recruits growing, it is becoming clear that the missionary task can truly be completed. Remember: never in history have the peoples of the world been so responsive. There remains one final key: that the churches around the world catch fire with a renewed, hopeful passion to pray down the gates of hell surrounding the remaining 17,000 unreached people groups. And that is the final step...

3. Implement the Task
Imagine an "adoption" list of the world's tribes and tongues still needing churches planted among them. Necessarily vague to protect missionaries in sensitive fields, the list would be some 17,000 entries long and might look something like this:

Could the year come when every group on the list is "adopted" by churches working though mission agencies? Imagine working together to complete the missionary task! If even one-tenth of the evangelical congregations took their small part of the final mission task remaining, the Great Commission could be completed -fulfilling God's highest expressed desire for His Church.

What does it mean to "adopt" an unreached people group?

ð It means that a group of churches, or a group within a church, takes on the challenge to reach an unreached group . The churches work through their chosen mission agency, providing informed, concerned, dedicated prayer and support.

ð It does not mean giving up current mission support, but taking on a new, more intimate commitment. The supported mission team becomes part of the church family, sending back high-quality, detailed prayer information. The adopting churches come to know their unreached group intimately, allowing them into their hearts and into the lifeblood of their daily prayers.

ð It means staying with the task for however long it takes to establish a small, growing church which can begin evangelizing its own people.

ð It means the joy and excitement of being part. of a worldwide cooperative effort involving thousands of churches and hundreds of mission agencies to finish the job we were given by Jesus Himself÷by each taking a small, bite-sized piece of the task.

Steps to Adopting a People
Many mission agencies have lists of unreached people groups who could be reached if the resources were available. Young people in increasing numbers are declaring their willingness to spend their lives at the ends of the earth to win the battle÷but have not found a support base. The time has come for the churches to catch fire in large numbers, while the harvest is still white.

The "adopt a people" program provides the avenue for serious evangelical congregations to become deeply involved in finishing the task. In adopting a people, the unreached world is no longer "out of sight and mind". The task is no longer over-whelming but exhilarating as measurable progress begins to be made in individual people groups. A gripping sense of being able to finish the task can take hold as breakthoughs are reported with excitement each month. Missions becomes an achievable challenge to the prayer life of the church. The church is not merely dutifully supporting missionaries, but reaching a people that has never been reached before.

And as that begins to happen in many churches, indeed the task can be completed.

1. Contact your denominational mission agency, or prayerfully select from the list of mission agencies below which one you should contact. The agency may assign you a people group or send you a list of people groups they are targeting.

2. Diligently seek the Lord as to which people He would have your church adopt.

3. Ask the agency to send you any information they have on this people and to put you on the mailing list of the team working among them.

4. Order the article "Researching Hidden Peoples in the Library" to obtain further details on your adopted people group.

5. Begin to receive special offerings or save your "loose change"* and have your church send it to the agency supervising the efforts. Designate this money for outreach to your adopted people group.

6. Share reports and pray corporately during your churches monthly Frontier Fellowship meetings.*

*The Adopt-A-People Program is one of seven resources within the Frontier Fellowship designed to help integrate mission vision into the local church. The other resources are:

1. How to Get One Started in Your Church 
Practical guidelines for initiating the overall Frontier Fellowship program.

2. The Global Prayer Digest 
An exciting daily prayer guide focused on the unreached peoples.

3. The Hidden People Sunday 
A Kit to help you hold a "frontier missions" Sunday in your church.

4. The Year of Vision
A Plan laying out twelve monthly meetings promoting frontier missions awareness in your church.

5. The Loose Change IProgram
A method for unleashing new funds for your church's frontier missions outreach.

6. Monthly Video MISSION UPDATE

List of Agencies Participating in Adopt-A-People

Africa Inland Mission 
1605 Elizabeth St. Pasadena, CA 91104 
Contact: Barbara Brown

Association of International Mission Services 
6313 Ardsley Square, Apt. 103L 
Virginia Beach, VA 23464 
Contact: Tom Craig

Foursquare Missions International 
1100 Glendale Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90026 
Contact: Phil Starr

Frontiers, Inc. 
P.O.Box 400 
Columbus, Ohio 43017 
Contact: Beth Lloyd

Gospel Recordings 
122 Glendale Blvd. 
Los Angeles, CA 90026 
Contact: Larry Allmon

The Overseas Missionary Fellowship 
Prayer Dept. 
404 S. Church St. 
Robesonia,PA 19551
Contact: Carol Roof 

Presbyterian Frontier Fellowship 
6146 N. Kerby St. 
Portland, OR 97217 
Contact: Harold Kurtz

Sudan Interior Mission, Int'l 
Box 7900
Charlotte, North Carolina 28217 
Contact: Gary Corwin

Pacesetters- Alan Thompson 
4142 Deerbrook Way 

The Bibleless Peoples Prayer Project 
Bible Translators 
Beach, CA 92647

Youth With A Mission 
Box 1774 
Tokyo, 100-91 
Contact: Judy Sproats

Plus many others, arrangements pending

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